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|“||The death is my life, the strength becomes my weakness, the journey has ended.||”|
Dalinar and Adolin are conferring about abdication with Renarin and Navani looking on. Adolin flatly refuses to let Dalinar leave his position, which Dalinar agrees to. Dalinar isn’t ready to “leave this fight now.” Dalinar’s only caveat is that if he displays marks of being too unstable, Adolin has the right to depose him.
Adolin voices his distrust of Sadeas, but again Dalinar tries to mitigate his fears though even Navani says she has never cared for Sadeas, even when he was young friends with Gavilar. Elhokar's fears of assassination are brought up and Navani wonders if Sadeas could be behind it yet Dalinar says it is impossible as Sadeas prefers to be close to the power, but far enough away that he couldn’t take the blame for anything large that goes awry. Still Dalinar sees enough to be concerned about that he orders only guards they can trust be close to Elhokar.
Renarin turns the conversation to the curious looking fabrial Navani has; it turns out to be a pain relieving fabrial. She demonstrates on Adolin, who agrees it works well although it doesn’t heal injuries but just diminishes the pain. Navani alludes to even greater devices in the works though she won’t comment further, but Navani thinks the ancients had even better fabrial technology. Dalinar disagrees, as during all his visions he has yet to see anything like the fabrials they have nowadays and things were very primitive though he says he has not yet seen a Dawncity. Shardblades certainly existed, but he felt they seem out of place in the past.
Suddenly Dalinar finds himself in the past again. He is with a regal man and whomever’s body Dalinar has taken, he and this man were clearly in the middle of an important conversation. On the man’s head are gold threads woven in the shape of the symbol of the Knights Radiant.
The regal man is talking about the Desolations and how they “are never ready” for them even though they have gone through so many. He also mentions a Surgebinder named Alakavish that has clearly done something wrong. The man refers to Dalinar as Karm and alludes to the fact that Karm has Surgebinders of his own.
Dalinar asks what they should do with the Surgebinders. The regal man hopes that they can be better. Use the responsibility they’ve been given with the Nahel bond to make everyone better. Dalinar looks out over the balcony and notices for the first time the horror on the ground. Corpses fill the streets along with strange looking rocks that might once have been live creatures. Dalinar also realizes that this city is ancient Kholinar and he stands where the palace would one day stand.
This was the result of a Desolation. A fresh one. The regal man says it was eleven years of war and that 9 out of 10 people he ruled over were now deceased. Cities are in ruin and whole kingdoms have been destroyed. Alakavish had caused the war before the Desolation weakening their society.
Dalinar thinks he is in a time before the Knights Radiant were known by that name. He also realizes the regal man could be none other than Nohadon. To test the man Dalinar quotes from The Way of Kings, which the man finishes for him confirming they are his words.
Nohadon says he is giving up the throne as there are other who can lead, but Dalinar implores him not to as there are surely other leaders yet none as good as he has been. This is clearly a much younger Nohadon than the one who eventually wrote The Way of Kings. Nohadon asks what he is to do if he keeps the throne. He wants to know how to protect his people so that something like this never happens again.
Dalinar suggests he write a book to “give people hope, to explain your philosophy on leadership and how lives should be lived!”
Nohadon doesn’t take to the idea well. There is too much to do. Every family has lost someone, many of their best people are dead, and food is in short supply. All Nohadon’s wordsmen are dead at the hands of something called Yelignar. Dalinar offers to write for him, but Nohadon brought up that Karm only had one arm though through Dalinar’s eyes he still sees and feels two.
Nohadon says they have to rebuild, but that he hopes he can bring all the kings together instead of see them squabbling and fighting one another. It is a time for action a time for the sword by Nohadon’s estimation. Dalinar is taken aback that the man he looked up to in a fashion was rallying behind a sword rather than other means given all that was in The Way of Kings. Though he says he wishes for peace over power. Nohadon then walks away leaving Dalinar alone.
Dalinar starts speaking expecting to hear the voice he had encountered on these visions in the past. He asks what Nohadon decides to do, but no one answers. Dalinar then returns to the Shattered Plains back where he started. He complains he didn’t learn anything, but Navani asks what he said before the vision ended. Navani says it sounded like a phrase from a very old book in a language no one currently understood and that with the notes she had taken and knowing what Dalinar had truly meant to say could lead to deciphering this language now. Dalinar always assumed the sounds he made while in the middle of a vision was just gibberish, but it seems he was speaking whatever language the ancient spoke at the time. Navani says the words he spoke were part of a very old chant that some claim was written in Dawnchant by the Heralds. They still have the songs, but the meaning to them is lost.
-by Michael Pye
Quote of the Chapter:
“They say that each time it is the same,” the man said. “We are never ready for the Desolations. We should be getting better at resisting, but each time we step closer to destruction instead.”